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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Ken Loach and his root vegetable


This analogy is sweeping Cannes. Ken Loach uses it to describe how he feels about characters. Your characters are a field of root vegetables, lets say carrots. To examine the character (the carrot) you don't need to dig it up - you know it is a carrot. Its obvious from just the top. Digging it up and showing it to the audience (look its a carrot) seems like a good idea, its a clear way of showing us what a character is about - but it is also condescending. You do need the carrot to be there - you need your characters to have depth. But let that depth be hidden from view. Trust the audience, they know it is there. They know what people are like - they have seen a carrot before!
Ken's advice then. As a writer or director - know your characters. But tell us about them through small points of the actions. Exposition is the enemy.

3 comments:

Dom Carver said...

Good point. Show your character through their actions and reactions.

However, I've never thought of my characters as carrotts before. Maybe you've been out in the sun too long ;-)

Tim Clague said...

Not me dude! Its Ken and them gurls!

deepstructure said...

excellent! exposition is the enemy! i've been saying this forever. i soooo agree with this. wanton exposition is my biggest pet peeve in visual storytelling.